Extreme E series leader Molly Taylor will return to the World Rally Championship at next month’s Rally Estonia.
The record-breaking Australian rally driver, who has won XE’s first two rounds with her Rosberg X Racing team-mate Johan Kristoffersson, will run a Ford Fiesta Rally3 at the Tartu-based event as well as in Greece and Finland.
Taylor, the first woman ever to win the Australian Rally Championship outright, will test the car later this month ahead of her first WRC start since driving a Subaru WRX to 13th on her home round in Coffs Harbour in 2016.
“It’s pretty surreal that it’s actually happening,” Taylor told DirtFish. “It’s been in progress for quite a while, but what an opportunity to be in a Rally3 car in the WRC being run by M-Sport. It’s an awesome opportunity to get back to the world championship.
I’ve always kept in touch with the WRC and never given up on the dreamMolly Taylor
“The events we’ve got are all challenging rallies with the fastest and the roughest – but they represent a real cross-section of events which will be good for the car. And, they’re all bucket-list events. It’s an amazing program.”
The Fiesta Rally3 will pose a very different proposition to the ODYSSEY 21 and the WRX she drove to win the Australian title in 2016.
“The Fiesta is so different to the Subaru,” said Taylor, who will be co-driven by Seb Marshall.
“I haven’t driven the Fiesta yet, but from what I’ve seen it looks very, very impressive and this is a fantastic chance to be back in the WRC. I’ve always kept in touch with the WRC and never given up on the dream [of competing in the WRC].
“Competing in Australia has been great and I’m incredibly grateful to Subaru – and still work with them – but I knew if something like this came up then I would be knocking on the door and shouting to be let back in.”
M-Sport managing director Malcolm Wilson said he was pleased to welcome Taylor back to the M-Sport fold, having watched her progress through the 2011 WRC Academy in a Ford Fiesta R2.
“It’s great to have Molly back in one of our cars again,” said Wilson. “I think we’ve all watched with interest what she’s been doing in Extreme E and now it’ll be great to see how she goes in the Fiesta Rally3.
“Obviously we’re also really pleased to see the Rally3 car out there and competing on three very exciting rounds of the championship.”
How impressed have you been with Taylor in Extreme E so far, and how do you think she will do in the Fiesta Rally3? Let us know in the comments